London Pride has been and gone, and was, by all accounts, a colossal success this year, firmly cementing the big smoke as a city of warmth and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. Absolut, however, wish to underline the fact that just because Pride is over for another year, love should be open, accepted and embraced all year long. The vodka brand has teamed up with BBH London to create a powerful poster campaign, highlighting the fact that it is still illegal to engage in same-sex activity in 72 countries worldwide as part of its wider push for a more inclusive and open world. Launched on the 50th anniversary of the amendment of the Sexual Offences Act – the Act of Parliament that saw homosexuality decriminalised in England and Wales – the poster series features individuals from many of those 72 countries sharing a same-sex kiss to celebrate their own freedom of expression.
Shot by celebrated photographer Sam Bradley, “Kiss With Pride” reflects Absolut’s belief that people should be free to love who they choose and builds on the brand’s progressive views and ongoing mission of championing equal love. The images capture intimate moments that would not be tolerated in those individuals’ homelands, with many of the nations represented regarding homosexual activity as a crime punishable by death. Bradley said of his involvement in the campaign: “I was drawn to the Kiss With Pride campaign because the idea was so pure. I knew I had to be involved, it's quite rare for advertising to be for a cause without it feeling disingenuous. This felt absolutely natural and true. The more people that see these images the better. And not just in progressive cities like London and New York. I would really like the images to reach people outside of that bubble and to start a constructive conversation.”
The images were exhibited at a launch event at the Houses of Parliament, which saw passionate speeches from a number of LGBTQ activists. The assembled guests were encouraged to celebrate the work done so far in progressing attitudes in the UK, but also reminded of the work still to be done worldwide. Sam Bradley’s images will be rolled out as part of a nationwide poster and digital OOH campaign, and displayed along the route at Brighton & Hove Pride. In addition, Kiss With Pride’ will appear as print ads across national news and consumer lifestyle magazines. From the 4th until 6th August the images will also be displayed to the public as one collection at East London’s Protein Gallery (31 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3EY).
As part of the wider campaign Absolut has also launched a #KissWithPride Snapchat Lens, which will see £1 donated to Stonewall for every use. Absolut has reserved the lens during Brighton Pride, where the Snapcode will feature on along the parade route and in select bars and restaurants. The Snapcode will be available nationwide all summer. The launch of “Kiss With Pride” sits within Absolut’s recently launched “Create A Better Tomorrow, Tonight” platform, designed to celebrate the brand’s core beliefs and its continued collaborative approach.
Adam Boita, Pernod Ricard UK’s Head of Marketing, said: “As a brand we have a long history of working collaboratively with the LGTBQ community, so the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act was a moment in time that we were keen to celebrate. The fact that millions of people around the world still aren’t free to love who they choose goes against everything Absolut stands for, so the Kiss With Pride campaign is something we’re extremely proud of.” Ian Heartfield, ECD of BBH London, commented: “This is the second campaign in a matter of weeks that we have made with Absolut that's been designed to help change minds in a positive, constructive, celebratory way. We look forward to making many more.” Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive at Stonewall the charity that campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across Britain, added: “Consensual same-sex activity remains illegal in 72 countries, and is punishable by death in eight. These figures serve as a stark reminder that we must not be complacent about what’s left to do until all LGBTQ people are accepted without exception.”
The campaign follows on from the recent release of Absolut’s beautifully shot “Equal Love” film, a similarly powerful statement that used a never-ending and diverse kiss as a metaphor for acceptance and love without discrimination.